Tibetan spiritual leader rescued in Himachal Pradesh

September 21st, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Sep 21 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorjee and his 13 followers, who were stranded in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district for 48 hours due to heavy snowfall, were rescued Sunday, an official said.”The 17th Karmapa and his 13 followers were rescued this (Sunday) afternoon from Baralacha pass in Lahaul and Spiti district,” Mandi’s Divisional Commissioner Ashwani Kumar told IANS.

The Baralacha pass is located at a height of 4,883 metres on the 475-km-long Manali-Leh highway.

“Before the rescue, the administration air-dropped blankets and eatables to the group,” Kumar said.

“The Karmapa and his followers are fine and in good health,” Lahaul and Spiti police chief Prem Kumar Thakur said.

The Karmapa, the only major monk reincarnate recognised by both the Dalai Lama and China, has been on a religious tour to Buddhist-dominated areas in Lahaul and Spiti district as well as in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir since Sep 8.

He was on his way to monasteries in Lahaul and Spiti from Ladakh when he was held up on the Manali-Leh highway, Thakur said.

The Karmapa is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu School, which is one of the four sects of Buddhism. He is considered the third most important Tibetan religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

The Karmapa fled Tibet and sought refuge in India some eight years ago. Ever since, he has mostly lived in the Gyuto Tantric monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala - the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile that is not recognised by any country.

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